This small beach house, or bach, sits on a sand dune near a fishing village at the mouth of the Taieri River on New Zealand’s South Island. “Bach” is a Kiwi term for a small vacation cottage of simple design and often handbuilt by the owner using inexpensive materials. When designing this modern version for his own family, architect Regan Johnston of Mason & Wales Architects took inspiration from the area’s original fishing huts and baches, giving the structure a straightforward gabled shape that would be quick and economical to build.
Updating the bach concept, Johnston included a fully-glazed end wall, which required a bit of slightly more complex engineering. Steel tension rods arranged in an X pattern keep the gable end from racking sideways when hit by high winds or an earthquake. The steel rods were chosen over other options so as to minimally obstruct the view.
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